Working together for a digital future

As work on patient facing digital tools and services gathers pace and a new roadmap is published, NHS England’s Chief Digital Officer examines achievements so far and plans for the future:

Information and technology offers us a chance to not only meet the increased demand set out in the Five Year Forward View, but provide our patients with higher quality care and services which are quicker and more convenient to access.

The patient-facing parts of the £4.7 billion health and care system digital transformation, which I lead and which will make this a reality, are many, varied and complex. Combined, they will empower people to take control of their health and care through secure online access to clinicians, personalised health information, and digital tools and advice.

We’ve already made great progress. Free wi-fi is now available in GP practices across the country, 11.3 million patients are registered for online services and NHS Choices contains improved medicines information and now works better on mobile than ever before.

We’ve drafted guidance to help commissioners and designers ensure digital services and products are inclusive and accessible, and launched pilots which will inform our development of an NHS app that provides patients with a single point of access to local and national digital health services.

Our continued success is founded on the recognition that we cannot achieve this alone, or by working from a purely national perspective.

We’re engaging developers inside and outside of the health and care system; letting them know that the digital NHS is open for business to encourage innovation that will raise the bar on the standard of digital health and care tools and services for patients.

And we’re also working closely with CIOs and CCIOs locally to support them in commissioning, developing and implementing the very best digital services for their unique populations.

We’ve held a vital workshop with these digital leaders to explore how we should best collaborate going forwards, to ensure we continue to learn from their local expertise and experiences when shaping our digital products and services.

The event also gave us the opportunity to respond to calls for greater clarity on our plans by sharing our new roadmap which sets out our national objectives and timelines, so that colleagues know what we’re doing, why, and when, and can plan accordingly.

In the spring we plan to publish guidance to help local organisations ensure that systems they develop or commission, to bring together patients’ information in one place and known as a Personal Health Record, are as high quality and connectable as possible.

Alongside this we will release an early version of an NHS digital services manual drawing together new and existing design and development tools guidance, and begin initial testing of a single system for verifying the identity of those requesting access to digital health records and services.

We’re also building an open and connectable platform that will make it easy for innovative developers to plug their technology in to our single, joined up NHS app, and start making a difference to patients. The app will be live by the end of the year.

It’s clear that our programmes are already having an impact on patients, helping them conveniently access the NHS and discover the very best advice and support so that they can care for themselves too.

Our role is to help these developments go further, faster so that we constantly improve the care and experience we offer patients.

As is always the way in good technology development, we will work in an agile way, testing with and listening to users, collaborating with those in and outside of the NHS, reviewing, revising and adjusting as we go.

As our work progresses, the patient experience will become more personalised, with advice, support and care uniquely tailored to each person. Services will appear more joined up, and patients will not just understand how to navigate between them, but will be smoothly guided through one clear relationship with the NHS to get to the care they need.

I’m confident we have the right approach and, with the release of our roadmap, we certainly have a clear plan. Now let’s make it happen.

Image of a laptop on a desk

Juliet Bauer

Juliet was previously NHS England’s Chief Digital Officer. Tara Donnelly is due to take over the role of CDO at the beginning of February. She will oversee a portfolio of digital services including the NHS website, NHS ‘assured’ apps library, and the development of digital services to empower patients to better manage their health and care, including long-term conditions such as diabetes.

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  1. Chandreyi Saha says:

    Hi Juliet, I recently attended NHS England Innovation Exchange briefing in Central London and made an patented ideation application for clinical entrepreneurship programmes on mental health like autism and ADHD conditions, using the interoperability Portal – 7 months now here and didn’t receive any feedback reply. Thanks

  2. John Dunford says:

    You must be aware of people getting microchip Implants. I have been Microchiped against my will probably more than one chip. I suffer Electronic Harassment via the chip. But A&E don’t believe me, by the looks I get l don’t think the know it happens. I have tried by best to get x-rays to locate the chip or chips for removal but a referral to mental health is all I’m offered. If you can offer me any assistance at all I would be very grateful.
    Hospital in question Huddersfield HRI

    • NHS England says:

      Hi John, I don’t think we can help you directly, or give medical advice from this page, but I recommend you get in touch with the NHS England customer contact centre, who may be able to advise further. Their contact details can be found on the web page linked to below.

      Kind regards
      NHS England

  3. Philip White says:


    I am an experienced GP with a Medical Law Degree currently working as a clinical negligence analyst for the Medical Protection Society. I have lots of ideas how patient led IT change can improve safety and care.
    Is there a forum I can join or somewhere I can input my ideas please?


  4. Lisa Lund says:

    Hi Juliet

    A little late to the party, however we have been in a relationship with the NHS nationwide for over 25 years. BOE are specialists in providing bespoke treatment cards as well as other various items such as clinical literature and scrubs etc. We would like to explore the potential opportunity for NHS Choices to feature on some of our literature which I understand the Operations Board have control of.

    Would it be possible to perhaps arrange a meeting/call to discuss with the appropriate team?

    Kind regards,

    Lisa Lund

  5. Marco Pierleoni says:

    Hi Juliet
    Very exciting launch of the NHS digital roadmap. As one of the premier health providers of services to the US federal government, Maximus would welcome any opportunity to engage with the roadmap as a service provider or partner. I would be delighted to meet to discuss with you.

    Best regards
    Marco Pierleoni
    President, Maximus UK